Golf is, unquestionably, a game that involves a significant financial outlay, irrespective of whether you’re a beginner or professional golfer. Some basic starter equipment together with a simple pull cart can easily set you back a few hundred dollars at the bare minimum – and the amount simply tends to increase with the technological advancements. Golf balls are something that you can lose frequently. While significant discounts on them are available at leading stores, if you lose a few golf balls each round, it can cause a substantial uptick in your entire golf budget.
Some companies will collect all the balls golfers hit into the forests and ponds, and sell them at heavy discounts. A key question is: do new golf balls really perform that much better than the used ones? Is it worth paying more for the best golf balls, especially if you’re a beginner or weekend golfer? Let’s find out.
Is there any difference between new and used golf balls?
Aside from the huge market for new golf balls, there’s also an enormous market for used balls that can include millions of experienced balls every year. According to many golfers, some level of disgrace is associated with used balls. After all, these are generally harvested from streams, lakes, ponds and water might not do those balls any good. While that may be true to a certain extent, it’s perhaps less true than what people usually think of. Today, golf balls are extremely well-made, which is why they’re capable of spending a couple of weeks in the water and remain just fine – for casual play, at the least. In addition, nowadays, companies that sell millions of used balls frequently harvest from the same locations, thus ensuring the balls don’t spend a significant amount of time in water.
Companies like LostGolfBalls.com, which was started by 4 former Texas A&M golfers more than 25 years ago, has already sold more than 650 million golf balls since its inception. The company harvests balls from over 2,400 golf courses, from every state other than Hawaii, Alaska, North Dakota and South Dakota. Once the harvested balls are shipped to the company’s warehouse, they’re sorted by workers according to grade. AAAAA (the best of the lot) looks almost like brand new, and AAAA (the next grade down) comes with minor blemishes but plays pretty much like new.
Every golfer is aware of the negative connotation that comes with used golf balls. Some golfers feel that they don’t play as good as new, while others think that used balls have to have some kind of defects. If you wonder whether you should go for new golf balls or used ones, here are some key factors to consider before making your pick.
Save money on your Golf Balls
High-end brands like Titleist Pro V1 or Pro V1X can come at a high price of $50 a dozen. You can get used Pro V1 or Pro V1Xs at almost half that price. So, you can buy almost 2 dozens of them at the price of new 1 dozen. When they’re essentially the same golf balls, does it make sense for you to pay more?
They become used after one shot
Just like your new car, a new golf ball becomes used after your first drive. Think of it like this: You’ll spend double the money for a ball that remains new for only one shot. In addition, you can invest the saved amount in upgrading your other equipment.
They’ll get lost anyway
It’s a fact that you’ll lose all the balls you buy, whether they’re new or used ones. And there is a good chance that you’ll lose that brand new ball you purchased within your first 3 rounds. If not, the ball will be too rubbed to play anyway, and nobody wants to continue playing with a scuffed ball, right?
They’re just like new
Used golf balls sold by renowned stores usually come with no scratches, no scrapes, no water marks or dirt, and they can easily match the standard of brand new balls. Most of them receive high positive ratings and recommendations from their users. In addition, some companies offer a money-back guarantee to their customers, in case they aren’t completely satisfied.
Other things to consider
According to leading names in the industry, golf balls manufactured by them can be kept safely, without zero deterioration in performance, for a couple of years in normal conditions. However, it’s important to note that excessive heat, like what can be found in the interior of your car, can reduce a ball’s working lifespan significantly.
Companies also point out that balls should be more frequently replaced if golfers want to stay on the same page with advanced technology. Leaving aside the manufacturer’s preference for golfers to purchase frequent replacements, balls should last for a couple of years under the normal U.S. climatic, storage and playing conditions.
Is it worth paying for the “best used balls” if you’re a weekend or beginner golfer?
Assuming you’re new to golf or play the game as a weekend activity, used golf balls will meet your practical purposes just like a new one. The question is; should you pay more for the “best used balls”?
Every retailer who sells used golf balls offers grading on those balls. Balls that are called “mint” usually feel and look like new. Balls in this top grade often don’t come much cheaper than brand new versions, especially if you consider the high and frequent discounts on new golf merchandise available throughout the year. If you’re looking for medium-grade used balls, you’ll be able to get attractive savings. That’s because there are some extremely minor cosmetic defects that downgrade these balls.
If you’re still feeling hesitant between new and used golf balls, probably the question to ask is whether the higher price of new balls will justify the accuracy you are looking to get. If you’re not a pro that can afford an unlimited supply of high-end new balls, it’s probably wise to go for standard-quality used golf balls as you won’t find any appreciable loss of spin, height or distance in them.